Posts filed under ‘Biking’
A hot afternoon is perfect for a kayak & bike adventure. We wanted to be able to kayak downstream and then bike back to our car. Honeoye Creek in July is about 12″ deep in most spots and requires an occasional portage through shallow spots. This is a scenic and safe kayak ride through 3.5 miles of clear, winding water.
While floating along we saw Raccoons, Woodchucks, Deer, Hawk, Heron, Kingfisher, Turkey Vulture, Fox, Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle, Rainbow Trout, Suckers, Carp, Frogs, and very few people.
Once we pulled our kayaks up to road level, we unlocked our bikes, locked the kayaks and started riding on Golah Rd to East River Rd. Head north on East River Rd until you see the entrance to the Lehigh Valley Trail. You can bike on the trail and it rejoins Fischell Rd right next t the boat launch.
It took us about two and a half hours to very lazily kayak and about 30 minutes to ride back to our car. Pack a picnic, bring lots of water, and remember there are no rest rooms.
A sunny Sunday in April inspired us to ride the canal from Palmyra to Newark. The Erie Canal provides a safe and completely flat ride with towns spread out every ten miles or so.
We parked our car in the Palmyra Aqueduct Park. The ride to Newark is scenic with several other creeks like “Garnargua,” intersecting the canal and a wider area, more like a lake, before Newark called “The Wide Waters.”
There are a lot of birds to see as you ride: Herons, Ducks, Wood Peckers, …
The town of Newark was fun to bike around, though not much was opened on a Sunday afternoon, except of course, Tom Wahls!
To get a full history of the Eric Canal, you should visit the Erie Canal Museum, in Syracuse.
I received a GoPro from my family and am enjoying its simple interface, and how easy it is to edit. Charlie offered a Letchworth explore, so naturally I engineered a “hike or die” for a sunny spring day.
This hike is seven miles long, starting at the south end of the park and heading north. We left bikes at the end of the hike to get back to our cars. The views from the edge remain lovely the entire hike, and the craftsmanship of WPA stone fences, picnic tables and bridges inspires the challenging walking path.
A sweet little 20 mile ride around Otisco Lake is not long enough to make my seat sore — but the vertical on the west side of the lake will destroy any quads you thought you had.
Park on the east side of the lake at the Lakeside Park (free but only about 6 spots!) and head clockwise so you can enjoy the winding, picturesque Otisco Valley Road that goes right up next to the water and rides pretty flat from North to South.
Make the turn at the southern end of the lake and enjoy rolling fields of grass. Ride along the lakeside (113) up to the point of the causeway and take a break and walk out onto the causeway and enjoy the view.
Once you hop back on your bike you have an enormous climb up Stanton Rd (246) straight up the side of what feels like a mountain. You continue to climb up all the way to Route 41. Once on 41, you get beautiful glimpse of Skaneateles Lake as you race downhill towards Borodino.
It was a very windy day. This was the first time I worried that the combination of gusts and downhill speed would blow me off my bike. I think I was traveling about 40+ mph and felt myself veering into the ditch.
There is a wonderful quick video of a bike race that goes around Otisco. It gives you a quick look challenging and charming this ride is.
Seneca Lake’s North end is the town of Geneva, containing Hobart Williams Smith College, Belhurst Castle, plus some of my favorite post-cycling pit stops like The Red Dove.
This time I am riding with my high-mileage bike-riding girl-friend who is training for a four hundred mile Finger Lakes bike tour. We started the loop in the Lakeshore Park and headed counter-clock-wise around the lake, weaving through the sides streets that surround the college. Students had just gone home for the summer and this gorgeous campus seemed way too quiet.
We took Rt 6 (Pre Emption) with a short jog on Earls Hill to Rt 9 (Ridge Rd), to Rt 7 to Rt 1 (Himrod) all the way down the west side of the lake to avoid the traffic, not picking up busy RT 14 until we came to The Glenora Winery. Rt 14 however goes right along the lake edge and might be lovely in a quieter riding season.
Highlight was an Amish horse and buggy making great time on the road. I pursued and finally was able to overtake it as we crested the hill.
Another highlight was a little Inn in the town of Himrod that I would like to stop at some time. I think Himrod was probably a much bigger deal when the railroad was the only way to go north south and before Rt 14 eclipsed Rt1.
If you plan on spending more time in the area, stop at the Starkey House B&B – a genuine Mission-Revival-style home, built in 1922. It is close to several wineries (18 along this side of the lake!), plus close to both Hammondsport and Watkins Glen. The owner of the Starkey House, Cathy Moskal, is a gracious hostess and a great cook.
Once we were on 14 we had a nice wide shoulder, but steady 55 MPH traffic at our backs as we rode almost continuously downhill to Watkins Glen. We lunched at the Glen Mountain Market, sharing a great sandwich and some coffee to warm us up. This bakery/deli has combines baked goods bread and creative sandwich inventions, which when combined make for a mouth-watering smell – even if you have not ridden 44 mile to enjoy them.
Ride through downtown Watkins Glen before heading north again. Enjoy the great turn-of-the-century architectural relics. The village originally known as Salubria was officially named Watkins Glen in 1926. The original race course used to wind through the streets of the downtown area.
The other famous attraction right in the center of town is the Glen itself. Watkins Glen is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. It is one of the most amazing geological sights in the area.
Despite all this information it is still a very quick ride across town. Once we make the turn north we hit the incline. This upward climb will continue for about two miles of sheer agony followed by several more ups that feel more like a mountain climb than a simple lake circuit.
We chose roads away from the busy main route, passing through the Finger Lakes National Forest, Danos Heuriger, a traditional Viennese winery restaurant. This section of the ride is long and perhaps better enjoyed with a winery stop or two.
As we came to the last 20 miles we rode by the now empty Seneca Army Depot. Today it is a protected sanctuary for white deer. Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly.
It was still a long trek back into Geneva. Bikes in-car, we hiked to my favorite watering hole for our reward.
If you can ride 30 miles on a bike you will love the ride around Owasco Lake. Riding around the Finger Lakes is always a visual feast, but the hills can be grueling. The trip around Owasco is the easiest of all the lakes.
Emerson Park, at the north end of the lake is a great place to park as it has nice bathrooms and access to water. There is a $2.00 fee to park. Emerson is a lovely large park with swimming beach, room many picnic spots, a walking pier and it is home to the Merry-go-Round Theater.
The main routes surrounding the lake are 55mph roads, but they usually have good shoulders. I recommend that if you are going to ride around a Finger Lake that you start at sunrise and you avoid peak summer months. Another benefit to an early start and a clock-wise circuit is that you will get nice shade on the west side as you journey uphill from Moravia. I saw a generous array of wildlife, often crossing or eating in the middle of the road: fox, hawk, vultures, goldfinch, deer, and several woodpeckers
To start my route I headed south on the east side of the lake on Route 38, passing the Tom Thumb Drive-in, to Rockefeller Rd. Rockefeller has no shoulder, but it is nicely paved and much quieter. The land quickly turns from residential to large farm fields which provide an unobstructed view to the lake. Stay on Rockefeller all the way to Moravia, where you’ll turn right onto N. Main Street to head back north on Rt 38.
If you have time stop in Moravia. Fillmore Glen is just outside the downtown area. This lesser-known CCC treasure is on the level of Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glenn. Pick up picnic supplies at the grocery in town or the farm market across the street from the park entrance and take a hike to see the falls, or a swim in the pond at the bottom.
Moravia is the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore. It has beautiful homes, some of them in need of some extra love. The streets are quiet and shady. I was hoping to find a breakfast spot and there was nothing available.
As you leave town and head across the inlet before turning north you will pass The Betty Blue, a local watering hole that might be worth checking out another time. Soon after you pass Dee-Dees Ice Cream which looks like it would be a fun stop.
I took a quick break at the Owasco Flats, This is a nature preserve with floodplains, forest and wetlands. Over half of the water flowing into the lake comes through this inlet. This lowland is home to many animals and is accessible by footpath.
Now you continue a long slow climb north. Compared to the climb north on Canandaigua Lake, this is easy. You are rewarded with a great view at the top and then 38 begins to hug the lake side so closely you ride between the lake homes and the water.
The road narrows, as you wind along the lake edge, making this the least safe section, but it is such a lovely ride. Owasco appears to be a big fisherman’s lake. I watched many bass fisherman trolling along the water’s edge.
Pass by the historic Springside Inn, also home to Oak & Vine Restaurant. Before you know it you are going through the rotary and back in Emerson Park. A 30-mile ride is a great warm up. This ride has so many visual treats, no wonder riders make this a regular loop.
Biking in the Finger Lakes is challenging and thrilling. The steep glacier-cut hills require iron lungs and some fat gears, but the thrills you get from the many hilltop views of a lake stretching out for 15 or 20 miles are unparalleled. Canandaigua Lake is a beautiful ride as you get many great waterside and panoramic views as you make the circuit. I think it also has some of the most challenging hills of any lake circuit.
Most lakeside routes have very narrow, gravel-filled shoulders, and the more established, well-paved routes have cars traveling at 55 MPH, so it is best to start very early in the morning, or ride during an off-peak time of year like May or October.
The Route: About 43 miles
There can be strong winds coming from the west. I chose to ride clock-wise around the lake to avoid riding into the wind on the last leg. Stating from Kershaw Park in Canandaigua, I rode on Lakeshore Drive to RT 364 (red route on map).
Heading south, continue to Middlesex where you follow a left-right jog and pick up RT 245 (a parallel quieter route runs on West Ave (364). Continue on 245 south to Parrish Rd at the south end. For a great lunch stop, continue into Naples, before turning north on the west side.
Heading north on RT 21 you can take that route to 5 & 20 and loop back to your starting spot, or you can pick up the more scenic West Lake Rd route, mid-way up the lake (blue route). This side of the lake seemed MUCH harder and hillier than the east side, but I was more tired too.
If you want to follow an alternative ride on the West Lake Road from town to Route 21, click here.